US man believed dead 12 years ago spotted in North Korea—report
An American student who was believed to be dead in 2004 was reported to be teaching English in North Korea, according to a report from Yahoo! Japan. One of his students was the country’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un.
David Louis Sneddon, who was then a 24-year-old student at Brigham Young University, mysteriously disappeared in Yunnan Province, China, in 2004. Chinese authorities claimed that Sneddon died in a “hiking accident” at the Tiger Leaping Gorge Trail in Yunnan. However, his body was never found.
In a twist of events, South Korea’s Abductees’ Family Union chairperson Choi Sung-yong told the news site that Sneddon had been kidnapped and brought to the country to become an English tutor to then-heir Kim Jong-un. He is now living in the country’s capital, Pyongyang, with a North Korean wife and two children, the report said.
On Wednesday, the United States Department of State announced that they would rescue Sneddon in North Korea.
According to Deseret News Utah, Sneddon’s parents, Kathleen and Roy, were interviewed on the radio channel “Voice of America” after they were contacted by a US citizen living near Seoul. The caller said that his wife, a former defector, had friends who noticed that Sneddon looked similar to an American teaching English in Pyongyang.
Today, the Sneddon couple is tirelessly campaigning for the passing of a joint resolution in the US House of Representatives, which directs the government to investigate their son’s alleged abduction. A few years ago, Roy and David’s brother, James, visited Yunnan in hopes of reuniting with the missing student. They also created a website and a Facebook page dedicated to finding Sneddon.
“We just knew in our heart that he was alive, so we had to keep fighting,” Katheleen Sneddon told the local news site on Wednesday.
Sneddon might have been targeted because of his fluency in Korean, which he developed when he was a Mormon missionary in South Korea. Gianna Francesca Catolico/rga